I love a swaddle! Seriously, it’s my favorite thing to share with new parents. The AAP suggests that when done correctly, it can help calm infants and promote sleep. I wholeheartedly agree. As a newborn consultant, I will always recommend it. But swaddling your new little one doesn’t go without a few general instructions. I hope you find this information helpful.
Tips For Swaddling
Babies under 12 weeks can be swaddled for sleep. Because babies have no control of their extremities until around 3 months, I do recommend swaddling for all newborns. The Moro Reflex (aka the startle reflex) is most often present until around 12 weeks. This reflex is often responsible for multiple wake ups and swaddling correctly can help lessen that response. I’ve witnessed the correct swaddle be the difference in 2 and 6 hours of sleep. Generally, around 10-14 weeks, that reflex has started to disappear and your little one will be able to sleep peacefully without it.
Having the correct swaddle technique is key. It should be tight in the right places. We want to see a baby bundled with the arms securely placed at the side, hands tucked slightly behind the bottom, tight across the elbows, plenty of room for hips to rotate and enough room to slide 2-3 fingers between the baby’s chest and blanket. Check out MomsonCall.com for my preferred swaddle technique.
Babies who are rolling or are showing signs of rolling should not be swaddled. Typically, I recommend dropping it any time between 10-14 weeks, as many little ones are starting to roll by this time and that startle reflex is starting to disappear. When approaching this age, I always encourage parents to swaddle their babies, place in the crib and then monitor to be sure she isn’t rolling.
Practicing safe sleep is a must. Always place your baby in a crib, bassinet or Pack n Play for sleep. In general, the sleep space should be a firm, flat, breathable surface. The only thing in the crib is a swaddled baby. Be sure that it’s secure around the baby and no loose fabric is seen. Items such as the recently recalled Rock-N-Play and the ever-popular DocATot are not safe for unsupervised sleep. To avoid overheating, place the baby in a short sleeve onesie under the swaddle and keep the room temperature between 68-72 degrees.
My go-to swaddle will always be the Moms on Call blanket. It is a 44X44 inch, double-napped flannel. It is bigger than any blanket you will find in stores and it GETS THE JOB DONE! After a few practice rounds, you’ll be swaddling your little one like a pro. This blanket is like magic. Seriously! In the event that you cannot use this blanket, or have a sitter who isn’t familiar, I recommend the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle. Be sure to get those hands slightly under the bottom and get that Velcro as snug as possible.
If you have any questions about swaddling your new baby, please reach out. I would love to help.